Kravitz: Mercs can claim Monza pole
Ted says Friday form shows Mercedes can take pole, but their race pace is not good enough yet
Last Updated: 08/09/12 8:31am
Sky Sports F1's Ted Kravitz has tipped Mercedes to land pole position for Sunday's Italian GP - but doesn't believe they have the race pace to secure victory.
In a weekend in which the Brackley-based team have already been central players in the biggest off-track story of the year as speculation continues to rage about Lewis Hamilton's future, the team delivered their strongest on-track performance for several races on Friday at Monza as Michael Schumacher led the way in Practice One and Nico Rosberg then ran the McLarens and Ferraris close in the faster afternoon session.
And according to Ted, Schumacher and Rosberg are well set to challenge for pole in position in qualifying.
Speaking on The F1 Show live from the Monza paddock on Friday evening, Ted said: "I think Mercedes can easily be on pole position for this race."
Yet it was prediction laced with a strong caveat, with Kravitz also suggesting that, judging by their pace during Friday's long runs, Mercedes could struggle on Sunday.
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"I do certainly think that Mercedes need to brush up on their race pace if they're actually to bring home a victory," Ted added.
"But what an amazing story that would be - Michael Schumacher winning the Italian Grand Prix for Mercedes.
"Maybe then he could say that he's had enough and is retiring!"
Fellow Sky Sports F1 colleague Johnny Herbert agreed that Monza's high-speed confines were playing to the strengths of the W03.
"I think they're very suited to here," the 1995 Italian GP victor said.
"We've always heard the car doesn't like long challenging corners - there's not many here at all - and there's all those long straights. That double DRS that we all know about seems to be working favourably for both drivers."
While Mercedes enjoyed a competitive Friday, World Championship leader Fernando Alonso endured a series of technical faults with his Ferrari.
But with the team able to change his malfunctioning gearbox without suffering a penalty, Kravitz believes that Alonso will ultimately view the day with a degree of encouragement given the lack of pace shown by Red Bull.
"Things haven't gone so well for Fernando with failures in both sessions but his key challenger, Sebastian Vettel, has also had a messy weekend so far," he surmised.
"Yes, Red Bull are good on race pace but in qualifying pace they are nowhere and we might not see Vettel in Q3 - it's that serious."
Qualifying from Monza will be broadcast live on Sky Sports F1 from 12pm.